Direct Group — Masters of Messaging

Direct Group executives (from the left) include: Matt Graham, chief strategy officer; Don McKenzie, president and CEO; June Busch, executive vice president, new business development; Chris Ryan, COO; and Pat O’Brien, chief marketing officer.

Digital lead and trainer, Rick Gazzola, operates Direct Group’s second Océ JetStream 2200 continuous ink-jet press, which was installed last December.

“We can receive files in the afternoon and, whether the customer needs several hundred, thousand or million pieces, we can get them in the mail the next day,” McKenzie adds. “Years ago, it was a 10- to 20-day cycle, and we have now compressed that into from one day to one week, depending upon the client’s needs.”

Direct Group found that adopting a “trigger” mentality has been very successful in driving response rates, but it also means working around the clock to get the job done. “Trigger-based marketing can be very stressful to our organization because it requires 24/7 capabilities in data processing and client services,” notes Matt Graham, chief strategy officer.

“In mail acceptance, you are constantly on the clock because every hour counts as opposed to every day. We’ve been able to deliver a set of business rules that allows our clients to get up to 500,000 pieces in the mail the next day,” he says.

Last year, Direct Group also re-engineered its laser personalization platform with 32 Océ VarioStream 8750 systems to increase uptime and operational efficiencies, as well boost its color and MICR capabilities. The printers have allowed the company to increase daily output by 25 percent and take on additional business opportunities, without increasing the footprint of its production space. The VarioStreams have the capability of producing up to 300 million personalized letters per month, depending on format.

“By continuing to upgrade our laser installment, we have been able to support our clients’ growing demand for quick-turn work, allowing them to develop programs to leverage recent customer data and to improve response rates,” reports Pat O’Brien, chief marketing officer. “Another major benefit to switching to the Océ platform has been the reduced energy output of the 8750s, which allows us to improve upon our green initiatives.”

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